Local real estate agents say 2012 has been a good year and 2013 has the potential to be even
"Sales are up 25 percent in our office compared to the end of October last year," said John Stultz, owner/broker of Stultz Real Estate, Hollidaysburg.
(Mirror photo by Gary M. Baranec)
Lisa Fry, owner/broker of Lisa Fry and Associates GMAC Real Estate, meets with
Richard Isakson, a prospective buyer, on Tuesday afternoon at a house for sale
on 58th Street. The home has a mural in
According to figures from the local multi-listing service, which includes Blair, Bedford and northern Cambria counties, the number of homes listed was up 11.5 percent for January through October compared to 2011.
The number of units sold was down 1 percent, but sales volume was up about 5 percent, with the median price up 7.59 percent.
"The market is up strongly," said Mike McCaulley, an appraisal assistant at Wiley Corp., Altoona, and ReMax associate broker. "The golden range is $100,000 to $200,000. Homes that are priced correctly will go fairly quickly."
Kathy Chabala, co-owner/broker of ReMax Results Realty Group, Altoona, said her office's sales volume through the end of October was up 15 percent over last year, while Scott Strayer, broker/owner of Strayer and Associates, Altoona, said his office has done almost as much business the first 10 months of 2012 as it did in all of 2011.
Broker/owner Adam Conrad of Perry Wellington Realty, Hollidaysburg, said his office's sales also are up, which he attributed to being a newer local real estate office. His office opened in early 2011.
Exit Realty John Hill has had a good year and is busier than usual for this time of the year.
"The market has been surprising to me the last couple of weeks. It usually slows down before an election but we got real busy for some reason," said broker/owner Matt Evey.
However, not all offices are doing better than in 2011.
Lisa Fry, owner/broker of Lisa Fry and Associates GMAC Real Estate, Altoona, said her business has been about the same as it was last year.
"We didn't have a lot of growth, but we didn't go backward. In general, the real estate market is a mirror of what we saw in 2011," Fry said. "We are seeing a low level of inventory, because sellers are reluctant to put their homes on the market."
Low interest rates have been a factor in sales.
"Interest rates are still historically low. People are starting to feel better about themselves and sellers are being more reasonable and realistic," said Robert F. Pennington, owner/broker of Coldwell Banker Town & Country Real Estate, Altoona.
Holly O'Connor, broker assistant/ sales agent at Howard Hanna Johnston Realty, Altoona, and president of Allegheny Highlands Association of Realtors, said houses that are priced right are selling.
"Buyers are smart. They know what they are worth. People are not willing to overpay," she noted.
Opinions are mixed on whether the present market favors the buyer or the seller.
Stultz said he thinks both buyers and sellers are on equal footing, while Strayer said he believes the buyers currently hold the advantage. Conrad, though, sees the market favoring the seller.
"It technically is a sellers market because of a low inventory. At this time of year, people often pull their homes off the market because they believe it is a bad time to sell," Conrad said. "If a home is priced right, it will sell in this market."
Evey said the way Congress handles how to reduce the federal deficit and avoid going over the "fiscal cliff" will play a key role.
"Congress is in control of a lot of our fate with the looming budget crisis. Now that the election is over, how it handles things will have a large say in the real estate market and overall economy," Evey said.
Mirror Staff Writer Walt Frank is at 946-7467.